Being prepared

Submitted: Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 11:52
ThreadID: 109143 Views:2645 Replies:3 FollowUps:7
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Just thought I would relay my experience of doing maintenance checks while traveling.

During the GFC I was working in a casual job and got put off, I found it hard to find another as other firms were also reducing staff. The answer is since no one was offering work, go one a six month holiday. Did some prep on the car, bought some spares that I thought I might need especially as the 4x4 was 12 years old. The plan was Newcastle, Birdsville, Gulf country, Kimberly, Exmouth, Esperance and home to Newcastle seeing as much as we could on the way between these points.
1; First noticed a rattle coming from the rear wheel and found the rock guards around the disc brakes were cracked, one side about to fall off. I removed them with the intension of having them repaired at the nearest sizable town. (Birdsville)
2; While at Birdsville getting the guards welded and refitted I removed the Kitchen in the camper to repair a water leak between the pump and the tap (cracked hose).
3; I noticed that I was losing water from the radiator after leaving Mt. Isa for Lawn Hill and Burketown. Finally found the leak from a pin hole in the top radiator hose and used that spare hose that I had been carrying for all those years. Also changed the fan belt that I noticed was getting a bit dodgy. (which I also was carrying as a spare)
4; At Kununarra I decided to check and repack my wheel bearings in preparation for the GBR, one was a bit dodgy which I replaced with a spare I had.
5; While doing the wheel bearings I noticed that the rear brake line had been hammered flat. On investigation I found that the new exhaust that I had fitted before leaving hadn’t been given quite enough clearance around the rear axle. After some hunting around I found a source for a replacement brake line and re adjusted the exhaust pipe.
6; No brakes on road to Kalumburu. The brake pipe on the other side of the rear axle broken from fatigue (clean brake). Luckily the replacement brake pipe included all three pieces for the rear axle and I had kept the unused pieces when replacing the damaged pipe in Kununurra. Used the spare Brake fluid to bleed the brakes.
7; Car overheated on a hill on the GBR couldn’t find a fault carried on with no further problem until coming out of Mitchell falls overheated again on a flat road again no apparent cause and again it fixed itself.
8; Noticed an exhaust noise coming from under the bonnet at Derby and found that the exhaust manifold had cracked and was leaking and if left would have probably fallen apart (probably caused by the hammering it received from the exhaust pipe hitting the rear axle). I removed it for repair, while we went on a side trip to Koolan Isl.
9; While refitting the exhaust manifold I noticed that the engine mounts were shot, ordered some from Perth to be posted to Broome. Fitted in Broome and ready for a trip to Cape Leveque. (No further overheating problems)
10; After leaving Millstream NP overheated again and then the obvious occurred to me, I had a intermittently sticking Thermostat. Ordered one from Perth while having lunch at Pannawonica to be posted to Exmouth.
11; On the way to Exmouth I noticed I was getting lower and lower in my driver’s seat, the mat under the seat squab had given way. So while in Exmouth fitting the thermostat, I pulled out the seat and replaced the mat with linen reinforced gaffa tape. (It was still there when I sold the car a few years later).
After that no more problems.
It certainly proved the value of being prepared and having some mechanical knowledge for these longer trips with an older car.

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Reply By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 12:49

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 12:49
Thanks Mal for sharing your experiences. I too have had several mechanical issues including a broken chassis, split fuel tank, electronic gremlin (causing limp mode), and a broken rear spring. I have been fortunate to be traveling with very capable people when issues have arose, and between us we have managed to improvise and continue on our travels.
The rough roads do take a toll on vehicles, and my experience is that many modern vehicles are just not up to the long term abuse that outback tracks and roads inflict. Having a newer vehicle does not exclude you from issues and in some instances the problems can be far worse! I am hoping for a better run from my latest vehicle, but time will tell as I still wish to experience the wonders of the outback in the years ahead.

Cheers, Geoff
AnswerID: 537709

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 12:59

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 12:59
G'day Geoff,

Just had a read of your profile to see what type of vehicle you have now.
Did that bloody lion follow you home??

FollowupID: 821939

Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 13:29

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 13:29
Yep ................. nice pussy, nice pussy. Cullymura will never be the same.
FollowupID: 821940

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 14:57

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 14:57
Hi Pop,
No the kitty didn't follow me home! It's a photo I took on an african safari several years back. Would recommend a trip to Africa and a safari - was absolutely fantastic. One thing that I found interesting is that the African countryside (Senegetti) is just like the Kimberley, except for the animals!
Cheers, Geoff
FollowupID: 821943

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 17:30

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 17:30
Geoff, going by your photos I'd say the Cooper Creek is exactly like the Serengeti including at least one of the animals.

I wonder how hard it would be to licence an elephant gun


FollowupID: 821948

Reply By: pop2jocem - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 12:55

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 12:55
G'day Mal,

Lucky you are either a mechanic or pretty mechanically minded.
What type of 4x4?
12 years old?? Just about run
My Cruiser is almost in the vintage class. 23 years young. None of that new fangled electronic stuff for this old girl. So far so good, doing the obligitry lap of the block with van in tow. I did do a heap of work before leaving home. New hoses and belts, wheel bearings, replaced the rear slave brake cylinders that were just starting to weep a bit of fluid etc etc. Had a fuel filter block up on the GRR because of dirty fuel, I suspect from one of the roadhouses.
Just replaced the sink mixer tap in the van (;-((
Oh well no great drama. Hopefully the most extensive work other than servicing as we go.

AnswerID: 537710

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 14:28

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 14:28
Pop, the HJ stands now at 31 years young. OP reminds me of being prepared.

Had many rough trips (ABH / GRR / Simpson / Rudall / Tanami etc.) around Australia with varied companions on the the old HJ47 troop carrier, with a few niggly little issues to be expected of a vehicle that age, however I survived far better than a lot of the younger vehicles I traveled with. Put it down to the fact they build the old 40's tough in those days and paid out on the troubles the newer vehicles were having.

Chooks came home to roost on my trip last year along the ABH and up the CSR. In no particular order the 40 series tray:

- snapped three shocks on CSR
- clutch slave cylinder went to lunch around Scone
- front brake caliper set blew to bits around well 40
- steering u-v joint / bell housing bearing went (fun steering after that until I got it fixed)
- front diff had to be rebuilt the day before we left
- radiator clamps let go around well 30
- left rear shock plate snapped on the ABH (thankfully the heavy duty leaf spring coped well until we got to WA)
- snapped off drivers mirror (well 23)
- canopy door latches vibrated until they broke
- fridge slide latch snapped off
- read exhaust bracket snapped off

Didn't poke fun at the other vehicles after that.
FollowupID: 821941

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 17:44

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 17:44
So what Scott, as Arfer Daly was want to say "little problems"

Hey I bet even then it didn't have to come home on the back of a tilt tray because the computer said "NO" or because you dropped the key in the sand and couldn't find it.

Now lets see, a 1969 FJ55. Actually not one of my better buys.
A 1974 FJ40
A 196 something I think 1965 FJ45
A 1982 HJ47
Both of the last two sold under threat of mutiny by 'er indoors.
A 1980 HJ45 Troopy with the original H diesel. Not exactly infested with power.
A 1989 FJ73 wish I still had that
And currently and for the last 20 years a 1991 HZJ75 with a 1HD-FT engine and H150F gearbox.


FollowupID: 821949

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 21:37

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 21:37
Pop, the only one I didn't fix mysefl was the bell housing - needed proper tools for that job.

many thanks to guys in Silver City 4wd for that one ....
FollowupID: 821972

Reply By: Honky - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 13:07

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 13:07
If I was going to work on my vehicle I could not have picked better spots.
Better than working in a garage at home.

AnswerID: 537711

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